When you think of Death Valley, the last thing that comes to mind would be springs and water. Believe it or not, there are 600 springs and ponds in Death Valley. I can personally vouch for at least 1 of them.
Despite the barren landscape… as ice and snow melts in the Sierra Nevada mountains, it flows underground and eventually makes its way back up through fault lines into Death Valley. During the waters underground journey, it picks up salt making the majority of the springs very salty.
So why is this spring called Bad Water? When initially surveying Death Valley, a surveyor came across this pond but his mule team refused to drink the water. He wrote on his map “bad water” and the name has stuck since. Contrary to the name, the water isn’t bad or poisonous, it is just extremely salty.
Despite mules not wanting to drink the water, the spring is home to one of the rarest animals in Death Valley, the bad water snail.
When it would rain in this valley, lakes would form. As the water evaporates, it leaves salt behind. The salt flat in the Bad Water valley is 8 km long. Judging by the shadow in the picture, Sian is about to punch me.
Pffft, Extreme Heat Danger. How bad could it possibly be?
I decide a hike around Bad Water would be a fantastic idea. It can’t be that hot, it’s well into the evening now.
Yup, 42 Celsius. Note the time as well. This is in the evening, not even under the direct afternoon sun.
So why then, is this blazing hot – salty water – terrible place for a hike considered a brand-new low for me?
At 282 feet below sea level, this is the lowest place in North America.
If you look carefully at the cliff behind Sian, you will see a tiny white sign about halfway up the cliff.
Slightly closer look at the sign. It reads “Sea Level”. This give you an idea of just how far below sea level we currently are.
Only 120Km away from the lowest point in North America is Mount Whitney, which happens to be the highest point in the contiguous US. The dramatic elevation difference of 14,787 feet over such a short distance makes it one of the steepest vertical rises on the continent. Only an idiot would travel from here to the summit of Mount Whitney without acclimatizing properly as altitude sickness is a serious concern….. and I know just the idiot for this job. https://www.tripbagger.com/2019/09/11/shawn-bags-mount-whitney/

1 Comment

Christine · April 20, 2020 at 1:07 am

Loved it. Always look forward to u pics and comments. Feel like I’ve traveled the world. Still waiting with fervent hope u will finish u grandpa’s story!

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